New Global Flood Map Tackles Top Worldwide Natural Hazard Risk

Created by property insurer FM Global, innovative map offers one-stop consistent global view of flood exposure to aid businesses

Johnston, RI (Apr. 5, 2017) – With flooding on the rise around the world, FM Global today introduced a new way for companies to help manage this increasing and potentially costly risk to their businesses.

The interactive Global Flood Map presents business executives with a powerful new strategic planning tool, and risk managers with a way to address natural hazard exposure around the planet. A version of the new map is available for use by businesses and the public at no cost.

The Global Flood Map provides a worldwide view of high- and moderate-hazard flood zones across the globe, even in areas where previously available information was unreliable, inconsistent or nonexistent. The global flood map is meant to help accurately answer the question Are your locations in or out of potential flood zones?

“Flood is one of the costliest commercial property risks, and it’s only getting worse with climate change, globalization and urbanization,” said Brion Callori, senior vice president and manager, engineering and research at FM Global. “Companies with properties anywhere in the world can now quickly identify the base flood risk for all of their facilities on a globally consistent, apples-to-apples basis, at a resolution of just 90 meters by 90 meters.”

FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, will showcase the map at the upcoming RIMS 2017 Annual Conference from April 23-26 in Philadelphia. Continuous interactive demos will take place in FM Global’s booth [#1627].

The new map can make initial loss-prevention and site-location decisions significantly easier. Executives and risk managers no longer need to locate, review and compare different maps from multiple countries that employ a variety of methodologies. Nor must they contact disparate agencies or make dozens of site visits just to garner basic information about whether particular properties reside in flood zones.

Users can now quickly determine whether their business locations reside in a flood zone simply by typing in physical addresses. The map identifies:

  • High hazards – If a location is in a 100-year flood zone, meaning it has a 1-percent chance per year of experiencing a flood, it will be highlighted in pink.
  • Moderate hazards – If a location is in a 500-year flood zone, meaning it has a 0.2-percent chance per year of experiencing flood, it will be highlighted in yellow.

The map presents results in two zoomable view options – road and aerial (includes buildings).


The Global Flood Map is innovative in three ways:

  • Scientific basis – The Global Flood Map is a comprehensive, physically based flood map employing hydrologic and hydraulic models, and reflecting data on rainfall, evaporation, snowmelt and terrain.
  • Consistency – The Global Flood Map provides a worldwide view of high- and moderate- hazard flood zones around the globe one 90-meter-by-90-meter tile at a time.
  • Geographic coverage – The Global Flood Map uniformly depicts high- and moderate-hazard flood zones for the vast majority of the planet’s land mass, including previously uncharted territories in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

FM Global’s researchers built on the experiences of and data from more than 10 different external scientific, academic and governmental organizations to prepare the map. The project leveraged FM Global’s powerful in-house computing clusters.

The cost of flood

Among natural disasters, flooding was the costliest overall peril in 2016 for the fourth consecutive year in terms of global economic losses, accounting for USD62 billion in such losses, according to Aon Benfield’s 2016 Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report. The map is the latest embodiment of FM Global’s commitment to resilience. As with other risks, the first step in loss prevention is identifying the hazard, which is the purpose of the Global Flood Map. FM Global offers its engineering-based risk management approach to help clients understand and mitigate the risk. FM Approvals, an international leader in third-party testing and certification services, has established standards for products – e.g., doors, temporary perimeter barriers – that also help mitigate flood risk.

About FM Global

FM Global is a mutual insurance company whose capital, scientific research capability and engineering expertise are solely dedicated to property risk management and the resilience of its client-owners. These owners, who share the belief that the majority of property loss is preventable, represent many of the world’s largest organizations, including one of every three Fortune 1000 companies. They work with FM Global to better understand the hazards that can impact their business continuity in order to make cost-effective risk management decisions, combining property loss prevention with insurance protection.

Source: FM Global

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